Ensuring you’re prepared for a winter sports holiday


Is there anything more exciting than a holiday in the snow? The beautiful scenery, the exhilarating runs and a multitude of winter sports to choose from. But once you have booked your holiday and the anticipation is rising, there’s just one thing left to think about: what do I need to do before I go?
Good preparation before a winter sports holiday means you can stay excited about the trip and not get stressed. After all, a holiday is there to be enjoyed. From writing a packing list to making sure you have the right winter sports insurance cover, there’s a lot to think about.
To help you prepare for your next winter sports holiday, we’ve put together a list of tips to get your holiday off to the best start and help you enjoy every minute of it.

1 Pick the right resort

Your skiing or snowboarding ability will determine which resort you head to – as will your choice of winter sports activities. Beginners will want a resort with ample nursery slopes, lots of gentle green runs and a good reputation for ski instruction.

More advanced skiers will be looking for a resort above 1,800m to guarantee snow, with plenty of high octane red pistes, steeper slopes and good options for off-piste adventures.

If you are going away with a group of friends of mixed abilities, pick a resort that offers diverse terrain and has easy meet-up lunch spots on the mountain so you can all spend time together. And if you are looking for less common activities such as heli-skiing, you’ll want to find a resort that gives you that option.
A view over a ski resort at night

2 Get fit before you go

Skiing and snowboarding use muscles you never knew you had, so it’s good to give those muscles a bit of a warm-up before you go.

If you’ve never been skiing or snowboarding before, take a few lessons in a covered ski dome and build up your overall fitness levels with some cardio work. The fitter you are, the more you will enjoy your trip and the less likely you are to get injured.

You’ll find there are all sorts of ski preparation exercise classes on offer – everything from Pilates and yoga for skiing to pre-ski assessments that create a bespoke programme of fitness and core stability. Take your pick!

3 Put together a winter sports packing list

When you’re heading to the snow, chucking a few bits into a suitcase isn’t going to work. You need to plan ahead to make sure you have sufficient warm clothing, the right winter sports equipment, enough sun cream and suitable travel documents (such as winter sports insurance).

This will give you the chance to see if you like it and save you money. And if you want to pack like a pro, why not download an app? Packing Pro, PackPoint and Packing List Checklist make sure you won’t forget a thing.
Various suitcases lined up against a wall with matching bags on top

4 Do your research

#SkiSafe is a government campaign designed to help Brits stay safe when going on a winter sports holiday abroad. The guidance includes things you can do before you go and tips on staying safe once you arrive at the resort.

It has plenty of information and advice on things people often overlook when travelling. The campaign advises travellers to get adequate winter sports insurance, leave emergency contact details with someone in the UK and visit a doctor for advice on any pre-existing medical conditions or medication you may require.

Once at the resort, tips include regularly checking the weather forecast and avalanche bulletins, considering a mountain guide if you are planning to ski off piste, and watching your speed on the slopes (ski etiquette is important).

5 Hire (or buy) the right kit

One of the most important pieces of equipment you need when skiing or snowboarding is a well-fitting pair of ski boots. If you are a regular skier, then it’s worth making the investment and buying a pair.

But if you are taking to the slopes for the first time, you might be better hiring them (and the rest of your kit) instead. Many specialist ski shops offer a fitting service to make sure you get the perfect pair. While most ski hire shops in resorts let you change your hire boots if they become uncomfortable during your trip.
Ski equipment essentials laid out on wooden flooring

6 Learn some new skills

Head to any dry ski slope or indoor snow facility and you’ll find instructors keen to help you sharpen your skills before your holiday. Whether you fancy a one-to-ne ski masterclass or want to learn a few killer ice skating moves, you’ll be pleased you have those new skills once you arrive at your chosen resort.

7 Learn the lingo

If you’re an ardent winter sport enthusiast, you’ll know the lingo already. But for those of you just starting out, here’s a quick guide to some winter sporting jargon…
·        Lift pass: An electronic pass that gives you access to ski lifts and cable cars. Lose it at your peril!
·        Button lift: The bane of many new skiers’ lives. Suffice to say, you rarely forget your first button lift experience – especially if you’re on a snowboard.
·        Snow plough: The snow plough is a skier’s friend – however advanced you are.
·        Apres-ski: Alcohol and skiing aren’t the ideal bedfellows, but there’s always plenty of booze flowing on and around the slopes. Schnapps, gluhwein, bombardino, or toffee vodka anyone?
An apres restaurant on a mountain with skis and snowboards stored outside

8 Check your winter sports insurance

A study by ABTA revealed that more than 2.5 million British adults who had been on winter sports holidays admitted not checking whether they had the appropriate insurance for the winter sports activities they planned to do. With so many other things to think about, travel insurance is easily forgotten. Having winter sports insurance gives you the protection you need should you have an accident, fall ill or suffer a theft whilst on holiday.
Winter sports are all about high-octane adventure, so you need travel insurance that will cover you for a range of activities as well as the usual medical cover and cancellation.
At Insurance Choice we can help you find the right winter sports insurance to suit you and your trip. Cover can include search and rescue, piste closure, loss of personal property and delay due to avalanche.
Get a quote today.